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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Sep 21;101(38):13963-8. Epub 2004 Sep 8.

Learning increases human electroencephalographic coherence during subsequent slow sleep oscillations.

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  • 1Department of Neuroendocrinology, University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, Haus 23a, 23538 Lübeck, Germany. moelle@kfg.uni-luebeck.de

Abstract

Learning is assumed to induce specific changes in neuronal activity during sleep that serve the consolidation of newly acquired memories. To specify such changes, we measured electroencephalographic (EEG) coherence during performance on a declarative learning task (word pair associations) and subsequent sleep. Compared with a nonlearning control condition, learning performance was accompanied with a strong increase in coherence in several EEG frequency bands. During subsequent non-rapid eye movement sleep, coherence only marginally increased in a global analysis of EEG recordings. However, a striking and robust increase in learning-dependent coherence was found when analyses were performed time-locked to the occurrence of slow oscillations (<1 Hz). Specifically, the surface-positive half-waves of the slow oscillation resulting from widespread cortical depolarization were associated with distinctly enhanced coherence after learning in the slow-oscillatory, delta, slow-spindle, and gamma bands. The findings identify the depolarizing phase of the slow oscillations in humans as a time period particularly relevant for a reprocessing of memories in sleep.

PMID:
15356341
PMCID:
PMC518860
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0402820101
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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